This review is from the wonderful folk magazine The Living Tradition, check it out and subscribe, it really is that good!
A review in only 40 words: Sam Pirt, accordion player with 422, and Garry Hammond, percussionist extraordinaire, are The Hut People. Picnic is their second CD on the wonderful Fellside label. Paul Adams is the Production Master. The result is wonderful.
But that’s a bit like saying a picnic is a few crisps, curled up sandwiches, a selection of biscuits and a bottle of pop or a Thermos of tea on a car park in a rain storm!
This CD has plenty of musical variety for us to feast on - West African rhythms mixed with Irish tunes followed by music from the Basque country written by accordionist maestro Kepa Junkera, Quebecois tunes alongside a Danish tune, as well as a bouree composed for Hurdy Gurdy.
We are given a wide variety of instruments to “eat” this musical banquet with - including the intriguingly named lagerphone. If it can be shaken, stuck or tapped then Gary can get a musical sound from it to enhance the flavour of our picnic. Then there’s the playing of Sam and his accordion. Whoever invented this instrument would probably be turning in his grave at how it is treated these days but for me it works here.
All in all a perfect picnic - even if it is wet and on a car park - you can always immerse yourself in The Hut People’s Picnic whilst enjoying the exciting photos of Quenton Budworth on the CD and booklet.
Our review from Songlines
Otherwise known as accordionist Sam Pirt and percussionist Gary Hammond, The Hut People bring to their second full length album much of the humour and spontaneity thet have helped make their live gigs so popular.Fairly typical of their freewheeling approach is the opener ' Shoes in Black', which mixes a West African rhythm with an Irish tune,while taking it's title from the set's first live outing - the duo found themselves supporting a Johnny Cash tribute band. Anxious to pay their own tribute to the 'Man in Black', they were only able to muster footwear of the same colour.
Elsewhere on this lively collection you'll hear their unique take on a Basque country tune written by Kepa Junkera rubbing shoulders with a Danish tune that uses a Balinese Udu drum, while Feria de Mangaio is their eminently danceable stab at Forro,the popular piano-accordion led music from North East Brazil. The virtuosity is always tempered by a sense of fun. The festival season is upon us and with The Hut People gracing many of this years bashes, their infectious 'world folk'will surely be winning them many more fans.
Latest review from allgigs.co.uk
Picnic - The Hut People Album Review
The Hut People
They say you should never judge a CD by its sleeve, but taking one look at the humorous pair of chaps on the front of "Picnic", armed with jolly grins and a picnic basket, provided me with a much-needed chuckle and a scratch of the head. And that wasn't the only merriment to be gleaned from this superb second album by The Hut People, the two blokes in the photographs, BBC Folk Award-winning accordionist Sam Pirt and percussionist Gary Hammond, who has previously dabbled with The Beautiful South - it's packed with smiley tunes all the way.
As it turns out, given the vast array of global musical influences spread throughout the fourteen instrumentals, "Picnic" is as apt a title as you could get for such a mouth-wateringly varied assortment. From track one, "Shoes in Black", you are immediately transported to West Africa, followed by Spanish Basque-lands on the jaunty "Bok Espok" and Ireland and Whitby on the pretty "Horseshoe Harbour" - and that's just three tracks in. All manner of instruments are deftly prodded, poked, caressed and sawn. Yes, I said 'sawn' - "Bok Espok" features a hand-built 'lagerphone', which is actually a broom-handle with bottle tops attached and played with a wooden saw. These guys are maniacs - they also perform with log drums, Nepalese crotals, cajonito, ching chooks, bongudu, saucepans, giggle pens (!) and many more which will keep the Wikipedia servers ready and your little children fascinated.
The key theme with this album is 'fun'. You can't but help nod your head, wiggle your toes or rustle up some grub to it, or at the very least chill out and wonder where on Earth they got half these bizarre instruments from. Not Amazon, that's for sure. THE Amazon yes, perhaps. The highlights are many, but my favourite standouts would include the Danish/Balinese "Marvaerk", the cheeky "One for Lily" (Pirt's first ever composition, written for his daughter), the traditional and simple "Siege of Delhi" and the opening three tracks.
It doesn't matter if you like folk or world-music or neither. Slip this music on, pour yourself a foamy one and tuck into this satisfying "Picnic".
Review as a jpeg from Shire Folk magazine
Latest review from Froots,
'The Hut People are an accordion and percussion duo with fingers in all sorts of folk and world pies.This is the second album from award winning squeezebox squeezer Sam Pirt and basher of all things bashable Gary Hammond, and the freshness of their sound is in no danger of going stale.Their trick is to combine unlikely influences in a way that makes them sound like it's t...he most natural thing in the world.So, the opening Shoes in Black pits an Irish tune against a West African rhythm,elsewhere a Basque peice goes Morris dancing,a Danish tune gets the Balinese treatment Brazilian Forro is accompanied by French Canadian foot percussion and everything sounds as though it was made to be played that way.Electric bassist Alan Jones chips in on a trio of tracks but otherwise just the two of 'em doing what they do best.Long may they wheeze and batter.
Review from the wonderful Bright Young Folk website -
THE HUT PEOPLE - PICNIC
If you think accordion and percussion is an uninspiring combination, you haven’t heard The Hut People. With their quirky take on tunes from a range of countries and cultures, their latest CD "Picnic" is guaranteed to grab your attention. A glance down the tracklist will reveal tunes from Denmark, Brazil, Scotland and France to name but a few. All are given the unique Hut People treatment by Sam Pirt (accordion) and Gary Hammond (percussion). Gary even rivals Bellowhead’s Pete Flood in the amount of percussive paraphernalia he uses.
The opening track Shoes in Black is a perfect example of the fusion of styles so beloved of this pair, as it is a traditional Irish tune accompanied by African rhythms. More unusual combinations are to be found in Bok Espok, composed by Basque melodeon maestro Jepa Junkera; one unlikely percussion instrument here is the largerphone, popular with morris side, and in the Danish tune Marvaerk, which features an instrument from Bali called the udu.
Québecois foot percussion is used on a couple of tracks, namely Brenda Stubbert’s Set and Feria de Mangaio (a tune from Brazil!) meaning Sam has to multi-task. Other cross-cultural combinations including skiffle-style washboard on a Cajun tune, and the use of “giggle pens” (answers on a postcard please) on a old tune popular with novice pipers.
Most of the tunes are fairly upbeat - A Travers la Vita is particularly dancey, and the popular Shepherds’ Hey, much beloved of morris dancers, gets a look in, but with Gary’s unique percussion style it is given a new twist - especially as two saucepans are included amongst his battery.
A couple of gentler tunes are also included - one set, rather appropriately, consists of two tunes written by Sam for friends he has met at a Buddhist meditation centre. It is a beautifully uplifting composition.
The tune Waulking (not a mis-spelling) has an interesting history - it originates from Scottish wool production. The women used a repetitive rhythm while beating the wool, and sang while they worked. Sam reproduces the singing on his accordion while Gary provides the rhythm.
There is a definite feel-good factor to this CD and it is sure to get your toes tapping.
THE HUT PEOPLE – Picnic (Fellside Recordings FECD248)
THE HUT PEOPLE
Fellside Recordings Ltd FECD248
Funky percussion surrounding a captivating tune is one way to epitomize the latest release from The Hut People. Those familiar with the work of Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond will recognise the exuberance of taking a tune and treating the main line with the respect it deserves whilst allowing the rhythmic drive of the beat to flow into a tangent of quirky vibrancy which is their signature. Sam hones his skill also with the band 422, winner of a BBC Radio Folk Award in the past, whilst Gary’s percussive ability has been showcased through his recording and touring work with The Beautiful South amongst others.
The variation of instruments that complement the accordion prowess of Sam is amazing. Take Bok Espok for example. The Basque country tune incorporates a lagerphone, Cajun bongos, Torpedo, WhaWha Shaker, Afuche, Shekere and Boing stick. Add the electric bass of Alan Jones for this track and the result is an amalgamation of beats, which are hypnotic. The percussive instruments consistently express themselves through-out the fourteen tracks and provide a standout in Gary’s own composition One For Lily which involves the use of prolific hand claps for added effect. There’s an amazing introduction to Anto’s Cajun Cousin taken from the playing of Sharon Shannon and the use of the washboard extenuates the vivacity of the lively tune.
With variety in abundance that ensures a high standard of entertainment there is something for everyone in Picnic. This CD ia a compelling listen.
So, here it is a welcome return to my favourite drum and squeezebox duo. Mind you, to my knowledge I don’t think there are any others I’ve missed?
Starting with a sprightly “Shoes In Black” (good choice of tune lads) with its loaded syncopation and spot-on triplets played at a speed that’s just right to learn from and then into a waltz version of the melody is an utter joy. And that as they say is just for starters.
If you haven’t yet heard Sam Pirt & Gary Hammond then I suggest you do so…Now! Here we have two guys who know how to convey all that is good about ‘folk’ music with a cacophony of sound so wonderful it’ll enthuse you all to dance from the rooftops like escapee chimney sweeps from a Disney movie…Gawd bless you it will.
Of course the choice of tunes is not all up-tempo and the selective option of any number of Gary’s arsenal of percussion at his disposal adds a descriptive colour wash to the palate of jigs, reels, slow airs and bourree’s that blossom forth from the digital dexterity of Sam’s fingertips.
I’ve been reviewing some truly incredible albums by folk artists recently but none that bring an automatic beaming smile and sense of joy as this recording. Unlike the title would suggest, this is not so much a ‘picnic’ as a full blown banquet. Paul Adams at Fellside has (for me at least) once again made a major discovery and as soon as we can point them in the right direction the great British public should be made aware of this personable duo.
Come on Jools (or at least your producers)…the gauntlet has been thrown down. I urge everyone out there to purchase a copy of the CD and then insist that your local folk club or festival book them…they really are that good! www.thehutpeople.co.uk
The Hut People
Newbrough Town Hall Friday 2nd December 2011
The whole audience, ranging from the very young to the not-so-young, could not fail to be impressed by this amazing duo!
Sam’s accordion playing is not only a delight to listen to, but you can’t help but be mesmerised by how fast his magical fingers move over the keys and buttons. Gary’s immense range of percussion instruments that he has mastered adds a new dimension to the traditional tunes played by Sam. The banter between tunes was great and enlightened us as to the origins of the instruments and the music – reaching the far corners of the globe.
We were also treated to some of Sam’s Appalachian dancing – is there no end to this guys talent? In the interval and after the show, both Sam and Gary were more that helpful in letting everyone have a hands-on experience of the instruments and some budding musicians will have had their first taster session!
These two entertainers not only shone through with their musicianship, but with their friendly personalities and great sense of humour. The night flew by and I highly recommend this brilliant show to others.
Thank you to Gary and Sam, and thank you to Highlights for continuing to bring such top class performers into our rural back waters.
Langley on Tyne
Home Is Where The Hut Is ( Fellside FECD228 )
The Hut People - before we start any speculations about obcsure tribes and world music - are Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond. They are The Hut People because they like huts!
The album features Sam's dextrous accordion playing, enhanced by Gary's inventive percussion the list of which will no doubt send you to a musical dictionary in a desperate attempt to find exactly what is making that particular sound. The duo have been together for a couple of years and both have deep roots in folk music. Their eclectic approach is clearly demonstrated in the album's 13 tracks. Here is music from Scandinavia to Louisiana, Portugal to The Shetlands, some traditional, some contemporary. With a combination of autobiographical zeal and academic precisions, the sourcing of each track ( if not always its accurate title ) is clearly recorded in the notes.
This is an album of textures and immensely considered subtletly, it ranges from the tenderly wistful and evocative to pulsating rhythmic dance. The duo's enthusiasm is evident in their playing throughout.
Most of the CD features music with overseas origins, so it's perhaps worth focusing on the two traditional British pieces. Da Day Dawn is the well-known New Year's evocation and walk-on song of the Papa Stour Dancers. The version here is the only track to feature Sam solo, delivering a performance laced with haunting darkness and the sound of midnight frost. In complete contrast, the track is preceded by Princess Royal, a Morris tune of extreme familiarity ( though, as usual, the notes provide some surprising alternative background ). As the track begins, one feels on safe ground.... until a descending run takes it in totally unexpected directions... a Samba which then acquires a reggae backbeat.
The track typifies the album's combination of respect for the music while still having fun with it. A remarkable debut, every hut should have one.
Nigel Schofield - The Living Tradition
Home Is Where The Hut Is ( Fellside FECD228 0
HUT PEOPLE – Home Is Where The Hut Is (Fellside Recordings FECD228)
Ah, that’s more like it something a little different from the ‘folk’ world. Paul Adams should be well chuffed with this recording on his tremendous Fellside label. For it is he who once again takes a leap of faith much as he did with Boden & Spears. This new pairing of Sam Pirt (squeezeboxes) and Gary Hammond (all things percussive) is a real breath of bellows driven air starting with the jaunty melody “Basque” which sets the pace of the album nicely. Following with the gorgeous sound of frame drum/thunder drum buoying the elegantly flowing tune “Morfars” this sound could become seriously addictive in a hypnotic kind of way. In my mind’s eye you could see the arrangement being used as the pivotal role in leading a colourful procession for celebrations such as May Day etc. By the fourth track the “Happy One-Step” we’ve moved into Cajun country and a triangle led rhythm bringing back fond memories of Bill Caddick. This proves the adage that a good tune will always stand on its own merits whoever performs it. There is some seriously rocking stuff on this little silver disk and some great tunes that will undoubtedly find their way into other bands repertoires. If you do hear them performed by others (and there’s no finer accolade) you can say you heard it here first. For copies of the CD which won’t be available until 25th January 2010 contact http://www.fellside.com/ or for further information on the duo check out www.myspace.com/thehutpeople
the bright young folk review
The Hut People, named for the hut in which their early jamming sessions took place in 2008 are accordion/percussion duo Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond. Accordionist Sam Pirt has been active on the folk scene for many years, winning the Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 1999 with ‘422’, while Gary Hammond has recently moved into folk music after 12 years with ‘The Beautiful South’ and a long list of world music and jazz collaborations.
Their debut album, ‘Home is Where the Hut Is’ is a really interesting combination of British, Nordic and European folk with world music influenced percussion. The steady core of the album is Pirt’s excellent accordion technique which is layered with Hammond’s enormous range of percussion instruments from around the world, two of the more unusual examples being the ‘Helix Bowl’ and ‘Static Whip’. Not one to be left out, Pirt also weighs in with foot-percussion on some of the tracks.
I found this to be an album that very much rewarded repeat listening, with a lot of subtlety and sustained interest. Well worth buying and spending some time with.
The Hut People - Home Is Where The Hut Is (Fellside)
The Hut People is a relatively new outfit pairing just two (but they make a sound big enough for many more!) virtuoso musicians Sam Pirt (accordion) and Gary Hammond (percussion). Both names should be familiar from other contexts - Sam initially as a member of The Pack, then a key driving force in the band 422 who won a BBC Young Folk Award as long as ten years ago, and Gary as a jazz and world music specialist who then spent 12 years in the pop sphere with The Beautiful South. But together: dynamite!
I might describe The Hut People as a very "hut" property on the folk-world circuit. The first time I saw them perform live, around two years ago, they'd only been playing together a short time, but what an impression they made, with a very high wow factor. Their live presence was characterised by an enormous ebullience, an absolutely hyper off-the-scale level of sweaty hi-energy, and total (ok, 200%) commitment. Their talents are undoubtedly larger-than-life, and that distinctly in-yer-face quality is brilliantly conveyed on this their debut full-length CD; but any likely misgivings engendered by this are quickly dispelled simply because the two lads' musicianship comes across so naturally and infectiously - they're not showing off for the sake of it, but genuinely communicating their enthusiasm and desire to share the music with you. It's impossible to find fault - neither with the playing or the arrangements, which, though invariably attention-grabbing and ultra-busy, are also unstintingly ingenious and listener-friendly - nor with the selection of tunes, the sequence and the pacing of the menu. The tunes originate from all over the world stage (Shetland to Scandinavia, Brazil to Belgium), but even the near-ubiquitous strict-folky Princess Royal gets an invigorating Latino-Caribbean-style makeover. The common denominator is that each and every tune sounds great fun to play! It's a particularly happy disc, moving from a cute introductory Basque and a thunderous schottis Morfars to the cajun Happy One Step and several tunes from Helsinki (including, inevitably, one to "Finnish" the disc in resounding style!).
There are times when you feel that Gary's throwing the proverbial kitchen sink into the recorded mix in an attempt to compensate for the true "live" dimension, but the sheer physicality of the performances wins you over every time, even on record. And sure – though at the risk of sounding mildly im-pirt-inent (sorry, couldn't resist that!) - it's possible to tire of the unyielding timbre of the accordion (even if Sam does bring four different members of the family into play), simply because it can't avoid being used as sole lead/melody instrument over the disc's 50-minute timespan, and this is bound to give rise to a certain homogeneity even considering the immense variety of percussive effects bestowed on the texture by Gary. So I guess all I'm inferring here is that this may not be a disc to satisfy everyone. But at the same time it proves pretty hard to resist these guys.
David Kidman January 2010 NetRhythms.co.uk
Review from The English Dance Society Spring 2010
The Hut People is accordion and percussion duo
Sam Pirt and former The Beautiful South
percussionist, Gary Hammond. The rather
cringeworthy, throwaway album title mustn’t put you
off: this is a lively album of tunes from around the
world, made to stand out from the crowd by the
varied and unexpected percussion. Hammond is a
self-confessed percussion collector and boasts an
assortment which is 400 pieces strong, so it is not
surprising that a great deal of percussion is
employed here: some you will be familiar with, such
as cajon, washboard, triangle and congas, and some
you may well not, like the spring guiro, zabumba,
darbuka and crotal bell.
A tune from Brazil sits alongside one from
Louisiana, Finland and Canada, all fluidly led by
Pirt’s accordion. And there is little need for vocals –
‘songs’ such as ‘Butter’ swell and spit out the words
via the accordion just as a singer would.
And if there is a tune you recognise, it won’t be
long before it’s given a more cosmopolitan groove,
such as ‘Princess Royal’ and her new Latin
R2 ( RocknReel ) March/April issue 2010-Roots section
Folk music has thrown up some interesting musical combinations in recent years and, while the idea of a duo consisting of an accordionist and a percussionist might not sound too promising on paper, it actually turns out to be one of the more interesting and entertaining ones. It helps, of course, that the accordionist in question is Sam Pirt of award-winning band 422 and that the percussionist is Gary Hammond who's spent 12 year's recording and touring with The Beautiful South.
There are several reasons why this album works so well, and the fact that they're exceptional musicians who appear to be telepathically linked is just one of them.Among the others is an adventurous choice of material from the traditions of North and South America,Scandinavia,South West Europe and the UK, combined with an equally wide-ranging approach to instrumentation, as on the dramatic ' Kourtaneen ' where Sam's plaintive accordion is underpinned by the repetitiveness of Gary's surdo ( samba drum ).
Whatever their origins, The Hut People put their unique spin on these tunes to create music that's in turn dramatic, joyous and hypnotically beguiling, and which stays with you long after the album has finished playing.
FROOTS REVIEW APRIL 2010
Accordion and Percussion go global. The Hut People are award-winning young squeezebox whizz Sam Pirt and basher of all things percussive Gary Hammond. Together this Hull-based duo create a refreshingly straightforward combination of folk and world sounds, drawing on tunes from around the globe and giving them interesting little twists, often based around Gary's choice of percussion instrument. So the jaunty Cajun tune Happy One Step features Spanish cajon whilst the folk standard Princess Royal gets a latin twist with a whole battery of cuban percussion.
Such musical chutzpah can be a recipe for awkwardness, but here it sounds unforced and just right. Other highspots include the opening Basque tune, a beautiful Finnish piece written by Varttina's accordionist and the charming Butter appropriated from the Canadian band Accordion Crimes. In truth there's a lot of charm on display here, generated from the obvious rapport these two musician's possess. There's no showing off here, no grandstanding, just a couple of fine players sharing an open approach, a sense of fun and a love of making music.
The Hut People "Home is where the hut is" Review from German internet site "Folkworld"
Label: Fellside; FECD228; 2010
The Hut People is an English duo with Sam Pirt on accordion and Gary Hammond on percussion. The duo was formed only two years ago and now their debut album is released on the Fellside label. They play tunes from all over the world, from Cajun to Canadian, but with a focus on Finland. The opening track Happy one step is such a happy song that even I feel my depression vanish within a few seconds. Very different is the second song Kuortaneen from Finland, written by the Varttina accordionist Markku Lepisto. The Hut People is doing a great job here, strong percussion bringing a mystic mood and Pirt is playing a wonderful piece of accordion . Back to happiness in La gran noticia and they play a wonderful version of Lepisto’s Lansiranta. Don’t I know this melody from Sharon Shannon as well? Or am I mistaken? With Princess royal they prove to be excellent players of Irish traditions as well. The album ends with a composition of that other great Finnish accordion player, Kaleniemi. A powerful end of a wonderful album that took me by surprise. I did not expect an album with such a variation in styles, well played and with the right atmosphere.